Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

This carol takes me way back to my childhood! So many good memories of a small-town church congregation and the Sunday School concerts. A Christmas Eve candlelight service complete with real candles, singing Silent Night, and then handing out candy bags for all the kids. Christmas morning, no matter what day of the week it happened to be, it was back to church for the Christmas Day service and that’s where we sang Joy to the World with great enthusiasm. It was a “joy to the world” kind of day!  It seemed like all heaven and nature was singing along with me.

 Then comes this verse:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings known
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

I didn’t really give that verse a lot of thought as a young person — maybe because as a child I had not yet been witness to much sin and sorrow.  As an adult with more than just a few years behind me, I have experienced and observed enough of life to know that it is not all sunshine and blue skies. There is pain and sadness and a lot of thorny ground.  I experience it myself. The curse is evident, far and wide. In my involvement with individuals and agencies in Red Deer, I see it manifested in broken relationships. Persons whose relationship with God, with themselves, with others and with creation are distorted and broken.

images

At Christmas we celebrate Jesus coming to earth.  A tiny babe entering this world in the most unexpected and unusual way. Arriving into a world filled with brokenness, wickedness, greed and corruption, poverty and  sorrow … and hey, not much has changed has it?

Yes, the curse is cosmic in scope. The curse brings decay, brokenness and death to every part of the universe. But as King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus came to — and is — making all things new. This is the good news of the gospel.

He comes to make His blessings known far as the curse is found. He comes to reconcile all things — to put into right relationship all that He created. THIS is the message that brings JOY to the world!

Colossians 1:19-20 state, “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things.”

God has a plan.

God is at work reconciling all things.

God is going to complete the work that has begun.

On January 23 and 24th, Global Compassion and Local Initiatives are hosting an interactive workshop that looks at mankind’s relationships with God, ourselves, others and creation and the consequences of these being broken. We will also explore the meaning of Colossians 1:19-20 and God’s work of reconciliation.

The workshop is called “The Poverty Revolution Bootcamp,” and it is meant to challenge your assumptions about one manifestation of the curse — poverty and the poor.

There are more than 2,000 Bible verses that refer to the poor, social justice and God’s heart for the vulnerable, but many of us struggle with our own understanding of what poverty is, its root causes, and more importantly, what we can really do about it.

We can’t deny the existence of poverty. We can see it in our own communities and in images streamed in from around the world.  Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you.”

So we wonder, “What can we do?”  This workshop will provide:

  • a better understanding of the origins of poverty
  • an understanding of God’s heart for the vulnerable
  • a realization that God has a recommended solution to poverty
  • an opportunity to develop a healthy personal response to issues of poverty

For further information contact me at LaurieW@CrossRoadsChurch.ca or Kurtis at KurtisK@CrossRoadsChurch.ca.

To register go to:  http://www.fhcanada.org/bootcamp.

Kurtis and I look forward to this time of discovery with you.

He rules the world with truth and grace,

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

 

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